Historian Ken Burns reminded supporters of the Confederacy on Sunday that the Civil War had been primarily about slavery, and not states’ rights as many conservatives have claimed.
“You know, when the Constitutional Convention happened, there was a man named John J. Chapman, who said slavery was like a sleeping serpent,” Burns told CBS host John Dickerson. “It lay coiled under the table during the deliberations; thereafter, slavery was on everyone’s mind, if not always on his tongue.”
“You know, we’ve grown up as country with a lot of powerful symbols of the Civil War in popular culture that would be ‘Birth of a Nation,’ D.W. Griffiths’ classic, and ‘Gone with the Wind,’ of course,” he explained. “And in that, it postulates, among other things, both films, that the Ku Klux Klan, which is a homegrown terrorist organization, was actually a heroic force in the story of the Civil War. So it’s no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened, oh, it’s about states’ rights, it’s about nullification, it’s about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shaped the North and the South.”
But Burns recommended that Americans read South Carolina’s Articles of Secession to get the real story on why the states went to war against each other.
“[T]hey do not mention states’ rights. They mention slavery, slavery, slavery,” he pointed out. “And that we have to remember. It is much more complicated than that, but essentially the reason why we murdered each other — more than 2 percent of our population, 750,000 Americans died; that’s more than all the wars from the Revolution through Afghanistan combined — was over essentially the issue of slavery.”
According to Burns, the racism running through the DNA of America was still present in modern day politics.
“The main American theme, I think, is freedom,” he noted. “But we also notice that race is always there. Always there. When Thomas Jefferson says all men are created equal, he owns a couple hundred human beings and he doesn’t see the contradiction or the hypocrisy and doesn’t free anybody in his lifetime and sets in motion an American narrative that is bedeviled by a question of race.”
“And we struggle with it. We try to ignore it. We pretend, with the election of Barack Obama, that we’re in some post-racial society,” he continued. “And what we have seen is a kind of reaction to this. The birther movement, of which Donald Trump is one of the authors of, is another politer way of saying the N word. It’s just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever. He’s ‘other,’ he’s different.”
“What’s actually ‘other’ and different about him? It turns out it’s the same old thing. It’s the color of his skin.”
Watch the video below from CBS’ Face the Nation, broadcast August 23, 2015.
Mask-free UFC fighter punches and hurls racial slurs at older man for ‘touching’ him at restaurant
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According to ESPN, the incident occurred at Table 82 in Lubbock, Texas on Wednesday.
In a video shared on social media, Perry appears irate as he is ushered out of the restaurant.
Lubbock police officers who arrived on the scene declined to arrest Perry but said that an investigation into the incident is ongoing.
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Officials at a California church were accused this week of harassing a Black woman who was sitting in the grass on the property.
A Facebook post claimed that the incident occurred at St. Paul's First Lutheran Church in North Hollywood.
"My friend Alex was sitting under a tree in the shade when this happened," the post explained. "This is deeply disturbing and contrary to Lutheran values and basic human decency."
A video shared by Chris Macke shows a man, who is presumably a Church official, hanging a "no trespassing" sign on a tree above where the woman is sitting.
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Video of the incident was shared on Twitter on Tuesday.
In the video, a man encourages the woman to put on her mask, which she is holding in her hand. The woman's elderly mother also appears mask-free in the video.
"Call the police," the woman says in a mocking tone. "Shame me like an ass, go ahead."
"You can put it on right now, ma'am," the cameraman insists.
"I'll do that when I'm ready," she replies. "Do you understand science?"
"Science?" the man remarks. "Maybe better than you do. Apparently, I'm the one protecting other people by wearing a mask."